Postgraduate Research Projects Available from Autumn 2017
The following research projects may be available from September 2017 for suitably qualified candidates for consideration to Research Masters and/or PhD level. If you are interested in any of the projects below, please contact the prospective research supervisor to discuss eligibility, requirements and project details prior to making a formal application.
Dr Seán Commins (Sean.Commins@mu.ie)
Project 1: How different training schedules can impact on short and long-term memory.
Learning is critical in everyday life, from studying for an exam to learning a new set of skills at work. However, how much information we retain depends on the type of training. For example, using multiple trials spread across time is a more effective method compared to binge learning. However, is such a procedure applicable across multiple tasks, also what are the neural correlates underlying such procedures? Using EEG and possibly patients with memory difficulties, attempts will be made to address these questions and understand why some training schedules are more effective than others.
Project 2: The role of cues in spatial navigation and memory.
Spatial memory relies on associating prominent landmarks in the environment with a goal or target location. Upon recognition of this landmark memory of where the goal is located is then triggered. Knowledge of how landmarks are integrated into our memories is currently a matter of debate, furthermore, the neural mechanism and brain structures that are thought to underlie such landmark-goal associations are not well known. Using the Morris watermaze or a virtual watermaze this project aims to examine the use of landmarks in spatial memory, investigating how stable are the landmark-goal associations across time and to understand the role of brain structures such as the hippocampus in the formation of such memories.
Project 3: The role of cognition in driving.
Driving is an important skill that requires the coordination of multiple processes including motor, visual, sensory and cognitive. Age-related decline can seriously hamper any of these processes which can impinge on driving behaviour. Cognitive decline including a loss in attention, memory, reaction time and planning can impact on some drivers more than others. Why is this? This project aims to compare young and older drivers’ on-road performance and examine how this relates to behavioural strategies, various cognitive abilities and neural correlates.
Professor Andrew Coogan (Andrew.Coogan@mu.ie)
Project 1: The role of impulsivity in shaping sleep-wake behaviour.
This project seeks to understand how psychological factors interact with the biological mechanism to shape the timing of sleep-wake behaviours. The aim is to understand why many psychopathologies are associated with later timing of sleep behaviour. We are particularly interest in the role of sleep disturbances in ADHD, and as such want to investigate how impulsivity may drive lateness in sleep onset. We also wish to undertake hedonic evaluations of sleep, and delay discounting of the consequences of sleep loss to better appreciate psychological factors that influence sleep.